Sunday, July 26, 2009


What is a gift? Well according to my friends Marriam and Webster is it “something given”. Okay, I begin to think what this is confined to. I set out and listed a few words that I relate to a gift. Here is what I came up with:

*Present – this one is obvious in the fact we are used to giving presents and we assimilate it to physical items.
*Talent – this is something we are good at usually naturally or by gained skills in order to accomplish something. It is done by physical, mental or creative abilities.
*Thought – this is the process of thinking, making serious consideration, an idea, bringing the unconscious to the conscious level.
*Attitude – this is a feeling, opinion, mood; a posture of position (according to the dictionary). To me it is a presentation of one self.

You ask, “DeAnn, what does this have to do with your life journey since weight loss surgery? Well, I’m glad you asked. I have been thinking lately about gifts and how God has given me so much since surgery. Sure he provided for me before surgery, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was his blessing to me when he provided a way for me to afford a surgery my insurance company would not recognize as a covered item. I faced not having surgery because of it, but through my determination to be well and have improved health I asked him to lead me. Lead me he did! He dropped avenues in my lap via snail mail, email and creative thinking on my part. After many prayers, much footwork and a step of faith, I secured the funds. Yes, the price is, I have to pay it off over time, but even there God provides.

I give myself a present every day when I choose to eat healthy, exercise wisely and work at this new lifestyle. It isn’t always easy. That chocolate cake donut or that light fluffy brownie make this present to me exceptionally tough some days. The desire to sleep in and skip the “Y” rationalizing the “skipping” part could constitute “working out” is tough to detour some mornings at 5:45am. So every time I bypass the urge to eat that delicious (as I remember them) brownie or I roll out of bed and drag my butt to the “Y”; only finding once I am there it is the best feeling in the world, I give myself a present. The progress of making these good decisions in itself is a gift.

My talent is often times done mentally. I try to be creative and mentally rely on my talent to be encouraging. I try to continuously encourage myself and others. By encouraging myself to take care of myself I hope it encourages others to take care of themselves. I am trying to be more conscious of using my talent in the physical realm of life. By this I mean letting other people know when I appreciate them, give them encouragement to keep on keeping on and pat themselves on the back. This has got to be the hardest thing in daily living. By encouraging others I encourage myself. It is a full circle. The gift of giving is a talent we all possess once we get outside ourselves and rely on God.

This leads me to the next thought. That being thoughts. So often I think of someone and forget to tell them. I am a firm believer that if you don’t let someone know you are thinking about them, they have no way to know you are thinking about them. So is the thought actually valid or just a fleeting moment in time? Wow, some deep thinking huh? Well, I think the gift of letting others know they are being thought about is important. I also think our thoughts construct who we are. If we have a positive thought and have positive anticipations we are more likely to be positive. By being positive I am more likely to progress in the right direction. As I think positive about my weight loss journey, I do a better job of making choices that assist my daily life and not hinder my daily life. So the gift of positive thoughts and acting on those thoughts lead to growth in strength, will power, good decision making and so much more.

This leads me to the next point - attitude. Have you ever been unlucky enough to be in the same room as someone with a bad attitude? It seems like everything they say, do or exude is negative. I have. It is miserable. I hate the days when that person is me. I can’t imagine how anyone else can stand to be around me when I am at that place in my attitude. The decisions I make are influenced by my attitude. So I have the option each morning to sit up in bed and decide what my attitude will be for the day. If I get off track at any time in the day, only I can change that attitude. The gift of a positive attitude is a gift I give to those around me. I hope my attitude will incite inspiration to those I come in contact with. This is in regards not only to my food choices, activity choices, but my outlook on everything around me. I pray my presentation of myself is positive and makes an impressive impression on others.

All of these gifts are an individual aspect of my lifestyle. A new lifestyle I choose to live since weight loss surgery. I have been a fairly positive person all my life, but I truly believe God’s gift to me since surgery has been a more positive outlook. He has provided the gift of financial means to have the surgery and the financial means to live a gastric bypass lifestyle. It isn’t cheap to eat healthier. It amazes me how this world is so bent on eating healthier, but the market makes it difficult to do such. God has provided the support of others to encourage me and in return he has given me the talent to try to encourage others. God has given me the thoughts I need to make good decisions. He brings the unconscious to the conscious level so I can reason things out. Sometimes I reason wrongly, but at least I know I’ve done it. I do make bad decisions at times, but through his grace I am able to forgive myself, pick myself back up and trod the path to a healthier, happier day. Lastly, God gives me the attitude to implement all these gifts for the betterment of my life. In the end I pray it will benefit those around me.

In a nut shell? The gifts we are given are to be used to encourage others. I hope this blog over the last year has encouraged you at least once. I hope it will continue to inspire as long as God provides me with the thoughts to write it. Together we can all live a better life, whether it is through the weight loss journey I have chosen or the day to day journey you have chosen. We all need each other and the gifts we bring to the table.

Dead ends don't exist. Back up, turn around and take a different road. You may become completely lost for awhile, but you will find the way. There is always another way. ~L'Tanya Gail Durante~

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Girth-day!!

Girth: the distance around something thick and cylindrical such as a tree trunk or somebody's waist - I was a person of ample girth.

This week I am looking at the last year of my journey and lifestyle since surgery. Actually my weight loss count started June 20, 2008. My goals and accomplishments had been set and driven towards since March 2008. I thought I would show you my progress and share some findings and random thoughts I've had over the last year. My Girth-day is July 21, 2009. Some people call it a surg-aversary.

I read somewhere recently: T.D. Jakes was talking about the need to celebrate small victories. He encouraged people with sicknesses to acknowledge “I’m not well, but I’m better.” I think often we are waiting for our ultimate success to show up all at once. I encourage you to celebrate the small steps that take you toward your goals. If you are better than yesterday, celebrate the fact that you are better.

This is a list I made last year as I thought about having surgery. I titled it:

Things I want to be able to do that skinny people take for granted.


*Bending over to tie my shoe with the bow on top not cocked to one side or the other.
*Never having to worry about sitting in a folding chair.
*Picking up loose change off the floor without having to bend my whole body in half with my leg in the air like a golfer.
*Going through a turnstile by walking straight instead of sideways standing on my tippy-toes to get my big belly over the top.
*Crossing my legs.
*Riding a roller coaster without the fear of not being able to get the safety bar latched.
*Sitting in a booth in a restaurant instead of a table.
*Being able to look straight down and see my toes.
*Walking for more than five minutes without being out of breath.
*Standing without my back aching.
*Having a lengthy conversation without being out of breath.
*Sitting close enough to the table to be able and eat without spilling on my shirt.
*Being able to reach over the stove to get something out of the cabinet without my belly crushing the oven handle.
*Reaching up without being conscious of my belly being exposed.
*Being able to walk through a restaurant or meeting room without strategically planning your route. (in order to fit between the tables and chairs)
*Not having to plan your seating arrangement to make sure you will have enough room to sit comfortably.
*Sitting down and having a lap.
*Clipping your toe nails without being in a million contortions.
*Driving without having to suck in your belly to turn the corner.
*Not having a “ledge” to rest your arms, plate, glass, papers, book, etc.
*Bending over and breathing at the same time.

I have accomplished all of these. One I have no idea if I have, but would bet I have is the roller coaster one. I haven't been on a roller coaster for so long I don't know that my heart can take the thrill--old age ya know! Some I want to accomplish a little more thoroughly (such as a smaller belly/larger lap area).

Next are my stats for the last year:

6/30/08 7/7/09 Difference

Arms 19 3/4 16 1/2 3 1/4

Chest 59 47 3/4 11 1/4

Waist 59 45 1/2 13 1/2

Hips 61 45 3/4 15 1/4

Thigh 27 3/4 22 1/2 5 1/4

Weight 292 192 100


Shirts 4x-5x (30-32W) XL-1x

Shorts 3X L

Pants (elastic Waist) 26-28 Petite 18

Pants 50" 40"

Sweats 3X L-1x

Underwear 13 9

Bra 52D 46C

Shoes 8 1/2 7 1/2

Here is my grateful list. It is comprised of my accomplishments based off my goals I set from last year:

Grateful List

*No acidy feeling or upper discomfort after eating since surgery (off Nexium 12/08)
*Getting off the C-PAP machine (10/08)
*Exercising consistently (and actually enjoying it)
*No back pain/little stiffness
*Only occasional joint pain
*Positive attitude developed since surgery
*More positive outlook since surgery
*Depression is less and less every day.
*Renewed sparkle in my eyes
*Joy on my face
*Making wise food decisions
*Doing healthy activities
*Eating small portions
*Cross legs
*Tying my shoes with the bows on the top and center.
*Walked through the turnstile square forward instead of to the side to get my belly over the top
*Getting on the floor to play with great niece and nephew
*Being able to sit in a booth at a restaurant instead of having to have a table
*Walking for more than 5 minutes without being out of breath
*Clipping my toenails without being in a million contortions
*Driving without having to suck in my belly to turn the corner
*Crossing my arms comfortably
*Reaching the middle of my back to scratch an itch
*Getting on the floor to exercise
*Zip my winter coat (and in a smaller size)
*Walk farther distance
*Bike farther
*Sit in the movie theatre more comfortably
*Getting off all but 3 medications (still on Nexium for a different reason)
*Reduce Blood Pressure medication and Depression medication (May 2009)
*Getting off Blood Pressure Medication (6/11/09)
*Lost 100 pounds (6/13/09)
*Will get off depression medication 08/2009

So as you can see, I have accomplished a lot over the last year. This journey started February 14, 2008 when I made the decision to have Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. I had my consultation with Innovative Weight Loss Solutions (IWLS), through Geary Community Hospital; Junction City, Ks on April 23, 2008. I had my consultation with Dr Hachem the same day. I have blogged my journey via file:// and file:// The two blogs are identical, but reach larger audiences. My blogspot blog is linked with the IWLS program and I am proud to salute that program and all the support from Ronda, Pam and Jennifer. They are a great caring trio. My year would not be as successful as it is if it weren't for them, their insights, suggestions and support. I also MUST thank all the other people in my life that have been my support along this journey; family, friends, co-workers, swim group, Bible study girlfriends, church members and new acquaintances. Mostly I thank whole heartedly my parents. They have been the strongest supporters and encouragers since I surprised them with my decision for surgery on the evening of February 14, 2008.

I have struggled the last month or so with losing the same pounds and somehow them finding me again. I have begun to keep a food log and will sit down with Jennifer (IWLS dietician) and see what we can tweak to get things started again. I know the surgery has done most of the work so far and I am at a place I will have to take over a more intense role. I have worked with my "trainer" Hope at the YMCA and we have focused on new circuits and specialized areas to assist me in reducing. I am recognizing my slips and downfalls in eating. Now it is a matter of addressing them, tackling them and winning the battle!

More importantly is focusing my whole being on the one that sustains me and leads me--God. My relationship with him has to be the most important and I work on that daily. Just like any relationship, time must be invested in order to maintain an active and healthy relationship. I need to focus my requests for willpower and growth to Him. I can't do it alone. This is a hard principle to remember for someone who has problems giving up control and is a perfectionist.

Now, to set goals for the next year. I haven't designed many yet. This week I plan to sit down and focus on my needs and desires in the next year. I could plan for farther down the road, but means I can only work on something one day at a time and one step at a time, I think I will keep them short term for now. Of course my long term goal is to maintain once I reach the "ultimate" goal-weight. I still want to lose 50 pounds and know it won't get done in the next 6 months, but I'm shooting for 20 of it. It's a steep goal, but I'll give it my best!!

Now, to look at the full picture. I have looked at my consult picture from April 23, 2008 and taken pictures of current day. I have kept one outfit from my "bigger" days and it is my consult clothes. They are the largest I was ever in. The comparison is hilarious, exciting, encouraging and on some level sickening. How I ever got that big and never realized it for so long is a boggle to my mind. I have given away all my clothes as I grew out of them (in a good way). The only ones I kept are these and they hang in my closet. If I ever start to gain weight I will pull them out, hang them on the wall as a reminder.

I am 100 pounds lighter, many inches smaller, more energetic, happier and healthier. So as year 2 begins, I say, "Let's saddle up and ride"!!

Because the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of changing -- we have a choice.
~Katie Jay

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The fences are in your head.

"The fences are in your head" Chicken Run

I like this saying from the movie “Chicken Run”. It puts a visual in my mind of what becomes my stumbling block sometimes is mostly in my mind. I can use any situation as a growing point if I look at it that way. The last few weeks I’ve been getting frustrated over some things I really have little control of. I have a new friend that said to me, “Something that helps me when I'm struggling is remembering that my time is not the same as God's time. When I think I should be further along on something than I am, I just have to step back and remember that I'm working on God's timing, not my own.” Then my friend Ronda said some thing to me last week about looking at where I’ve come from. It really isn’t any little feat! So this week I am focusing on the blessings and not the frustrations.

This week has been a good week. I have started to log my food intake and I think that has helped me stay on mark. I’ve had a day or two that was tough, but over all I have been feeling good. There are a few things I would really like to eat, but means I am being more conscious of what I am eating I have left those things alone. We had my great nephew’s 1st birthday celebration. I would have loved to sink my teeth into a piece of the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake, but I stood strong and declined. Instead I went for some fresh fruit. Sure was good! I splurged on the protein (hot dog in a bun).

I am still struggling with an ear infection. The outer ear infection has cleared up, but the inner ear was still swollen last week. Anyway, I am at least able to hear out of it now. Albeit everything I hear is muffled, has a tin sounding echo and a ring. I am going on 3 weeks with this. I can at least hear the 911 phone now at work and the officers are louder with the volume back to normal. I hope it clears up this week. I have an appointment with a specialist on the 22nd, so if it doesn’t we will see if there is damage or anything her can do for me. I’m just thankful I can do my complete job now. I think some of this frustration has contributed to my frustration with the weight/eating, etc.

This week was also my year check up with Dr Hachem (my surgeon). He was very happy with my progress. I saw him 3 months ago. I was frustrated with the fact I only lost 5.8 pounds in 3 months. He said a lot of times at the 1 year mark patients gain between the 9 month and 1 year appointment, so he was happy with the loss. He said he could visually tell a difference in my body in 3 months. I obviously have gained muscle and have slimmed down. So he was very happy with everything. I asked where he wanted me when I see him in 6 months. He said it was hard to put a number on because things would slow down now. He gave me a goal of losing 20 pounds. It is a great challenge considering I only lost 5 in 3 months, but we are going to shoot for it! It seems like I made it to under 200 pounds and have struggled to the next self-set goal of losing 100 pounds, but I did make it. So I will just keep plugging along. As Ronda said, “Just keep on doing what you’re doing. Keep your eye on the goal!!!!!” Thank you Ronda, you are a great support!

Speaking of support, I have found my support group meetings the 2nd Tuesday of the month in Junction City help keep me going. There is always good information from the speaker and from the members of the group. This journey is not something you can do alone. If there is anyone out there that is trying to do this new lifestyle on your own, find some support. It makes it easier. For those of you that are not part of this specific journey, you still need supportive people in your life to live, so reach out. God will always be your best support, but I know I need human beings in my life to support me and allow me to be a support to them. You get what you give in life.

Next week will mark the 1 year mark for me. My surgery was July 21, 2008. It has been the best year in a long time. The blessings have been unreal. God has brought people and situations into my life I can never fully understand and explain. His love is abundant and it is that love I must rely on to walk this journey. Next week I will go over some of my goals and accomplishments in the last year. I guess it will be a reminiscing update.

Just remember the fences are in your head. Jump over them. Crawl over them. Dig under them. Remove them. Whatever it takes to keep progressing!

"To love and be loved
is to feel the sun from both sides."
~David Viscott~

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Command Central

Your mind can reach into the past through memories, and into the future through imagination.

As I approach my year from surgery I look closer at my goals and accomplishments. As things slow down within the realm of losing weight I find the frustrations of not losing weight increasing. So I have to look at my accomplishments and where I realistically can go from here. I have to admit I haven’t looked at it as seriously as I should. I’m eating wrong; I’m justifying and slacking off when I should be getting more diligent. I need to reach into my memories and see where I was a year ago and pat myself on the back, but I’m finding my arm just a little short these days. I need to look to the future with some imagination and come up with new incentives, more dedication and new ways to implement my wants and wishes and goals. I am just finding it hard to focus that imagination. Maybe it’s the end of “the honeymoon syndrome” syndrome. If anyone has any suggestions or challenges I would appreciate anything you can give me to jump start my resolve. At this point I just feel a little stale and stagnate. I feel like I’ve lost my freshness and I’ve become at a stand still. I feel like I have failed to continue to develop, progress, or make necessary changes. It feels like the changes have stopped flowing or moving. I know we all come to a plateau regardless of the event of the journey, but it can be so frustrating! I’m afraid the detour may become the road.

I guess my command central needs a boost. My command central to me is my mind, my thoughts and my perceptions. They encompass my goals and my plans and steps to reach those goals. I almost feel like the steps have planted themselves in cement. I guess I should consider this part of the journey and we all go there, but even that thought doesn’t make it any easier. I see my progress back pedaling faster than my legs can switch directions. I’m not on a pity pot; I am just stumped about what to do from here; where to turn, what to change, what to continue to do, what to expect so not to set myself up for failure within my perceptions, expectations and results.

I know I try to be an encourager, but my encouragement to myself is running low on fuel. I hope this week’s random thoughts will help you to see you are not alone and remind me I am not alone. Everyone feels this way at some time. I just wish it wasn’t me at this time. I wish I could see the plan before me so I can figure out what to do, how to do it and how to implement it for life. I know this frustration will pass as I become stronger in my actions, more diligent in my dedication and less eager to discredit where I’ve come.

Old habits die hard and new habits easily slip when doubt arises. It’s always easier to go to your trusted comfort zone. I think that is where I am right now. It is a matter of relying heavier on the new habits and denounce the old habits for what they are—bad habits. I need more reliance on God and less reliance on my own abilities. He is what got me to the level I am now. It is time to kick it back into practice. Lip service is always easy and practice is always challenging. So I will pray God will boost my resolve, lead my actions and show me the true picture of my progress and less doubting of my accomplishments.

I need to reach into my past through memories and into my future with imagination. I need to have God led perspective within those memories and God inspired imagination for the future of this journey I continue walking on a daily basis. I can’t walk any other way and be successful. My command central can be a tricky place. God help me keep it in check. Help me to remember who is in charge and where you can get me if I allow you.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon~